Month: February 2016

Sugar Hill: A Blaxploitation Gem by Valjeanne Jeffers

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Review of Controlled Descent (Restoration Adventures Book 1) by K.M. Herkes

S.M. Lowry

Controlled Descent med

Genre: Sci-fi, dystopian, romance, mystery

A sabotaged plane leads to a whole new way of life for Justin Wyatt. Already a genius, the plane crash has now given him strange powers. Alison Gregorio lands her dream job at a law firm and believes she has it made. Until her office is blown up while she is away, and everyone she works with is suddenly dead. When a stranger rescues her from a similar fate, Alison finds herself in the same place as Justin, the client her firm believed dead. With the help of Alison and two hired men, Carl and Parker, Justin must find the people responsible for sabotaging his plane before they use Justin’s inventions to wreak havoc on the world.

My Review:

Controlled Descent by K.M. Herkes has a little bit of everything, from science fiction to romance to mystery, all woven seamlessly together to create an excellent…

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Black Authors I LOVE! Day 23

Lisa W. Tetting

Denis Waitley

Today’s featured author for my Black Authors I LOVE! series is Nigerian born feminist and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I was first introduced to this amazing woman through her TED Talk on YouTube. Here’s a small clip.  I watched this video and had to know who this woman was and how I could read more about her. Luckily she was an author and I was able to read her insightful novels. Miss Adichie is a very inspirational speaker and a great writer.

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Author Interview – K.M. Herkes

My Reader's Journey


K. M. Herkes is mostly quiet with a thirty-percent chance of loud, and everything else about her is subject to change without warning. She lives in the Midwest and works in a library, where she gets paid to play with books.  When she isn’t lost in her own imagination or making book recommendations, she’s outside in the garden, up to her elbows in dirt or wielding power tools with enthusiasm.
Professional development has included classroom teaching, animal training, aquaculture, horticulture, retail management, inventory operations, and customer service. Personal development is ongoing. Cats are involved.

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

Two series, so two sentences.

Stories of the Restoration. My characters are fighting to stay alive in a dystopian future that doesn’t look much different from the world of today

Rough Passages. Each story follows someone dealing with superpower-related crises in the present day of an alternate…

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Three diagrams to make your plot a page-turner

Nail Your Novel

Nail Your Novel unexpected plot developmentsI’ve had this question from Elizabeth Lord: I have just finished your book Nail Your Novel and found it extremely helpful for the rewrite phase of my novel. You mention graphs as a way to see where plots are plodding and character arcs intertwine – do you have any examples?

What a good question! Diagrams coming up.

First, though, a bit of explanation. Readers get bored if the plot appears to be predictable – ie the characters start with a goal and proceed doggedly towards it, step by step by step. This is a linear plot and it looks dead dull, like reading the syllabus for an education course, not a story. So when the characters have a clear goal at the start, we try to introduce developments that upset expectations. They’re going on the Orient Express? Great. Make one of them miss the train. Now everyone has a new…

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Winging It: Our Ever-evolving Mystery Writing Method #3

Winging It


Another reason for keeping the planning loose is that secondary characters sometimes “demand” a bigger part. The character of Julie Flynn was originally going to be killed by mistake, and it was her murder that would expose the killer. She was introduced when Frank brought her a drink, which lead to her running off at the mouth. Here’s an excerpt:

“Hey, if you don’t like me, just say so.”

“I like you fine,” I said. “I’ve had a rough day and I just want to relax and finish my beer.”

“Okay,” she said, settling back into her seat. “You wanna hear a story while you drink it? This is my story. Get your hankie ready.”

“Okay,” I said, “let’s hear your story.”

“So,” she continued, “we, me and my mom, came out here in ’41 when I was 15, my mom chasing some Army officer who was never going to…

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Review: Hex Support

Review: Hex Support

Dawnrigger Publishing

I give Hex Support* 3.5 glittery stars! And I’m rounding up to 4 all the way ’round, because I have great affection for this book and think it deserves the bump.

Full disclosure: I was on the selection committee that read entries for the anthology during development. The entries were judged blind, so reading the finished product was a real treat for me because I finally got to see who wrote which of the stories I liked best.

Other than judging privileges, I received no compensation for reading.  Getting a sneak peek at all these fun and funny tales before the rest of the world got to read them was more than ample payment, and I picked up my final copy from Amazon through Kindle Unlimited.

There. Due diligence done. All of the authors in this collection can tell you I am no pushover as a reviewer, nor do I pull punches when I…

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STEAMFUNK DANDIES: Black Men & Women of Distinction in the Age of Steam!

Chronicles of Harriet

STEAMFUNK DANDIES: Black Men & Women of Distinction in the Age of Steam!

In an earlier post – THE MAHOGANY MASQUERADE: The Politics of Fashion in Steamfunk – we looked at the relationship between politics and fashion. Now, as part of our League of Extraordinary Black People series, we will examine the embodiment of this relationship – the Black Dandy.

Dandyism was initially imposed on black men in eighteenth-century England, as the Atlantic slave trade and an emerging culture of conspicuous consumption generated a vogue in dandified black servants.

“Luxury slaves” tweaked and reworked their uniforms, and were soon known for their sartorial novelty and sometimes flamboyant personalities.

One of the most famous dandies was Julius Soubise, a freed slave who often wore diamond-buckled, red-heeled shoes as he circulated through the social scene of eighteenth-century London.

The magic of dandyism resides in the interplay between the dandy’s temperament and his appearance…

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Interview with author Gisele Walko


Say hello to Gisele Walko, author of The Vampire and the Necromancer: An out of Sequence Love Story and Wolf Girl finds necRomance. 

Welcome Gisele Walko

1. Where has your journey as a writer taken you?

Physically, no further than the couch, I’m a reclusive person when given the choice, but mentally….lots of places. I love the ability to be in the mind of another person, thinking and feeling what they think and feel, and researching different places, hobbies, and landmarks.

2. What are the biggest themes and elements in your stories?

First love, self acceptance and acceptance in general, self esteem, multiracial themes, social issues like bullying and poverty.

3. What led you to write your series “Multiracial Monsters”?

I have biracial children and lots of biracial kids in my extended family as well, and their journey is unique, so for example, in Wolf Girl finds Necromance I put how on the birth certificates of biracial children they only put the fathers race, so technically on paper both of my kids are white, but when they mark that they are black and white on any form, the school changes it to black. The monsters part is just because I like the paranormal.

4. Tell us about some of your characters.

I’ll tell you about the ladies. Brennan is from a family of beautiful werewolf women and girls, and lives with her mother in a trailer park where she does the bulk of the work and helps raise all of her sisters. She falls for a bad boy, but things probably work out for her. Nova is a violinist, a twin, an overachiever and after attending a party, a vampire. She tries to navigate first love with her best friend Ivan, an artsy necromancer. Ko is a beautiful black and Japanese cheerleader, and Nova’s nemesis, and a fairy since birth. She falls for Noah, Nova’s twin brother.

5. Talk about how mixed raced characters are important to you.

I love diversity and multiracial characters are a reflection of my own life.

6. What do you hope readers will find in your stories, or take away?

I hope they are entertained, and that the story makes them think, and that they like it enough to check out something else I’ve written.

7. What is the age range of your target audience? Does that influence how you write?

I try to keep the series appropriate for about age 16 and up, so I don’t go into too much detail with the sex stuff, but there is some language and violence.

8. What is your writing style? POV? Tense? Are you a plotter or pantser?

A friend told me I have a Staccato style, kind of short choppy sentences. I like to write in alternating first person present tense. I don’t really outline. I think of a beginning, an ending, and come up with a few scenes, and other than that the people in my head just do what they want.

9. Who is your favorite character, from your stories?

I’m partial to Nova. I love nerds.

10. What authors do you like to read?

At the moment I’m obsessed with Pepper Pace, Tiana Laveen, Twyla Turner, G.L. Tomas, Constance Burris, Tamara Philip and I like Kelly Link’s short stories, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill. so many others.

11. What is next in your stories?

I’m working on a YA/NA interracial romance about college students, with no mention of the paranormal thus far, and I’m working on my 3rd and final book of my Multiracial Monsters series.

12. What about a telling quote from one of your characters?
Nova, you know invisible people never have to convince people they’re invisible. Beautiful people who want to be antisocial do.” 
 Gisele Walko, The Vampire and the Necromancer: An out of Sequence Love Story

Thanks Gisele


See Gisele’s books at: